Author Topic: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??  (Read 2194 times)

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Offline jase

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The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« on: December 07, 2013, 05:54:11 PM »
I'm challenged to know where to start.

I've been playing with pizza making a home for a month or so.

It seems to me (so far) that the 'emergency dough' recipes taste better to me than than my attempts at fermentation in the fridge.. BUT none really seem to have much personality or presence other than delivering the toppings to the plate... (which so far is strictly limited to  sauce, garlic, and cheese. )

Can someone help me grasp the basics of creating a  dough that has  personality.. such as: get the ingredients mixture right first.. then worry about the time in the over/temp (I've been playing between 500 to 550 but upon reading that parchment paper only tolerates 475, I have just started attempting a Pizza peel launch... still the difference in temp seems not to change the taste of the end result, to the best that I can tell...

AND maybe I have never had GREAT PIZZA.. so it is hard to judge where/how to go from here.. I am gonna keep playing just because it is fun.. but if someone would point me in a direction I would appreciate the guidance and look forward to the adventure that that comes as a result.
 Best,
jase


Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2013, 06:08:29 PM »
We gotta know something about what you're trying to create before anyone can point you in the right direction.

Offline jase

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2013, 08:56:14 PM »
We gotta know something about what you're trying to create before anyone can point you in the right direction.

Ok good question: I am wanting to move towards a good or great tasting crust... one with a presence..  would be happy with a thin crust, or medium crust, not really to rapped up with the thickness as an issue....

I have a belief that fermentation helps the flavor of the dough.. but not noticing much difference in my attempts.. (and obviously don't know enough to form a good question)

Offline Auralnauts

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2013, 01:47:25 PM »
What flavors are you trying to get, though? I was taught that the crust should have the least flavor, the sauce the most, and the toppings should just be whatever the individual wants.

Edit:

Something simple I do with thin crusts is make the crust a garlic one. Of course, you could do this with any crust but beyond that the only flavored crusts I've seen is by adding beer or and honey (one of the members on here does this).
« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 01:50:04 PM by Auralnauts »
Dough, stretch, sauce, cheese; check.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2013, 02:09:29 PM »
I don't think it is a matter of the "most" or "least" flavor, but rather the right flavors in balance. 

There is adding flavor to the crust and there is developing flavor in the crust. They are very different and the latter is much more difficult than the former which is why the former is far more common.

Every part of the pie is important. The crust requires the most focus and attention because it is the hardest to get right. I'd argue that you won't notice a perfect crust, rather you will notice it when it's not. I don't want someone to eat my pizza and think "that's a great crust." Rather, I want them to think, "that's great pizza!"
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Offline Tscarborough

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2013, 09:46:17 AM »
I have tried adding flavor to the dough, and for the most part it is a waste of time.   Developing flavor is the best way, either through sourdough techniques or fermentation or both.

Offline pythonic

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2013, 02:54:57 PM »
Jase,

What recipe or recipes are you currently using? Maybe there is something we can identify and make better.  Sauce and cheese is very important too.  What brands are you using?  What brand flour?

Nate
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Offline deb415611

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2013, 03:02:37 PM »
(I've been playing between 500 to 550 but upon reading that parchment paper only tolerates 475, I have just started attempting a Pizza peel launch... still the difference in temp seems not to change the taste of the end result, to the best that I can tell...


I used parchment paper for years on a stone at  550 with no problems,   it won't burn, what is sticking out will just get brown and brittle, I wouldn't worry about that too much but learning the peel is not a bad thing either. 

Offline mkevenson

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2013, 03:14:21 PM »
Ok good question: I am wanting to move towards a good or great tasting crust... one with a presence..  I

Jase, I think this is a very good question. I have been making my pizza for a little over 2 years, every week, and I am still shooting for a good tasting crust, consistantly. Although I think a consistant texture to the crust is harder than the taste.

If you keep the dough recipe simple, flour, water, salt, perhaps oil and perhaps sugar, then you have less choices.

Good flour, ie King Arthur is a good bet. Salt, is a flavor enhancer, add enough to get the taste "present", but not enough to taste salty. I use 2%.
I have found that 24-48 hrs ferment is good for taste development. I now use lower temps to ferment my dough, around 63-65 F.

Craigs comments in this thread are right on!

Let us know what your dough recipe is.

Happy New Year.

Mark
"Gettin' better all the time" Beatles

Offline jase

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2013, 12:48:55 AM »
Ok it has been a while since I posted my question. And I will try to share what is going on. . . up until this week:

The "emergency" dough that has been the most reliable in a general sense is this:
1.5 Cups water
2 TBSP sugar
2.25 TSP Instant Yeast (isn't it called IDI?)
1.5 TSP salt
2TBSP Olive oil
4 Cups of bread flour

I'm gonna say this has been generally acceptable.. not bad enough to want to quit, but not great and inspiring (then again it is a quick dough so it is not supposed to be too whah-Hoo)

and I seem to be shooting for a medium thickness crust, not quite bread like, but not paper thin ether. (although my favorite part is the outside rim.. and that is where all my judging is going on.)

Earlier this week,  I made a Poolish with 130G flour,  130G Water, 1/8 TSP IDI on the counter over night.. and then the next day

288G King Arthur General Purpose flour
164G water
2G IDI
8G salt
splash of olive oil
(  I had to add more flour to get it kneadable (too wet) but by then I was flying by the seat of my pants)


and at the same time the night before I made the identical recipe (with out the poolish) but with K.A. High protein  flour maybe 1/8-1/4 cup of milk powder  and tossed it in the fridge overnight..

The following  day I was having fun trying to stretch the doughs out by hand, and using a pizza peel I made from a hardwood cutting board I picked up at walmart (the pizza surface is 14.5 X 16) it weighs half a ton, but it will NEVER warp like the thin ones and it met my need for personalized pizza tools.

The end result: the Poolish dough did not brown much on the top crust (at 550) but the bottom was a bit over done (I used flour to dust the peel)
and I think it cooked for about 5.5 minutes. Oh and as an aside, all my pizza's are plain cheese.. once I get that rocking, then I can get fancy. The Poolish dough pizza was a nice texture, but flavorless, or unimpressive in terms of the dough. It was not bad, I am content with it, maybe it is even as good as an average commercial Pizza place.. BUT....

The second dough I cooked right after the Poolish one, same toppings, and all, it browned better, and actually had more flavor (because of the milk powder?) BUT it was tough as shoe leather.  So the obvious thing from my mind is: I need to use K.A. General Purpose or all purpose flour, milk powder and such in my recipe to be content at this point in time.

Here are my unexperienced thoughts and I am open to your reflections regarding, or general observations regarding my attempts so far... And what does an experienced eye pay attention to as guideposts along the way? 

Oh and just this morning I threw together another dough cause I am itching to get on base, It was a white whole wheat variation on the above 288grams of flour recipe, (more water something like 200G) 2G IDI, 8G salt, a double splash of Olive oil, and 1/4 cup of milk powder.. and  it sat out all day, or 6 hours or so.  It was very easy to stretch... not real strong but it was a joy to press out and it came out pretty well. Oh and I used a fine corn meal for pizza peel lube and that was much easier to launch than the flour dusted ones earlier in the week.
While I am pleased with the WWW today  it is not a white flour dough, and that is where I am wanting to understand how to create a bit more depth, and multidimensionality....

OK that is where  I am at in this moment.. What am I overlooking, or clueless about that is foundational in great pizza dough?
And thanks for your time and contributions to my learning and fun in this process.

Jase 
« Last Edit: December 28, 2013, 12:58:35 AM by jase »


Offline mkevenson

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2013, 11:09:59 AM »
Jase, that info should help. Have you eaten a commercial pizza that had that dough WOW, you are looking for?
"Gettin' better all the time" Beatles

Offline dwighttsharpe

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2013, 11:38:33 AM »
IDY- Instant Dry Yeast

Also just called instant yeast(among other names).
Dwight

Offline jase

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2013, 12:56:12 PM »
Jase, that info should help. ?

What information? I am not connecting with what you are wanting me to understand..

 And I have  had pizza dough that I was impressed with.. well it is good when one is eating it, but they must salt the heck out of it, because an hour later I  urgently go looking for a pitcher of water...

It is a good question: What am I looking for in my Pizza dough.. and that may be  a part of the learning that is going on here.. my expectations may be out of whack..
« Last Edit: December 28, 2013, 01:46:13 PM by jase »

Offline jase

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2013, 12:57:44 PM »
IDY- Instant Dry Yeast

Also just called instant yeast(among other names).

Oops.. my bad.  Point well made.

Offline mkevenson

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2013, 10:52:56 PM »
Ok it has been a while since I posted my question. And I will try to share what is going on. . . up until this week:

The "emergency" dough that has been the most reliable in a general sense is this:
1.5 Cups water
2 TBSP sugar
2.25 TSP Instant Yeast (isn't it called IDI?)
1.5 TSP salt
2TBSP Olive oil
4 Cups of bread flour

I'm gonna say this has been generally acceptable.. not bad enough to want to quit, but not great and inspiring (then again it is a quick dough so it is not supposed to be too whah-Hoo)

and I seem to be shooting for a medium thickness crust, not quite bread like, but not paper thin ether. (although my favorite part is the outside rim.. and that is where all my judging is going on.)

Earlier this week,  I made a Poolish with 130G flour,  130G Water, 1/8 TSP IDI on the counter over night.. and then the next day

288G King Arthur General Purpose flour
164G water
2G IDI
8G salt
splash of olive oil
(  I had to add more flour to get it kneadable (too wet) but by then I was flying by the seat of my pants)


and at the same time the night before I made the identical recipe (with out the poolish) but with K.A. High protein  flour maybe 1/8-1/4 cup of milk powder  and tossed it in the fridge overnight..

The following  day I was having fun trying to stretch the doughs out by hand, and using a pizza peel I made from a hardwood cutting board I picked up at walmart (the pizza surface is 14.5 X 16) it weighs half a ton, but it will NEVER warp like the thin ones and it met my need for personalized pizza tools.

The end result: the Poolish dough did not brown much on the top crust (at 550) but the bottom was a bit over done (I used flour to dust the peel)
and I think it cooked for about 5.5 minutes. Oh and as an aside, all my pizza's are plain cheese.. once I get that rocking, then I can get fancy. The Poolish dough pizza was a nice texture, but flavorless, or unimpressive in terms of the dough. It was not bad, I am content with it, maybe it is even as good as an average commercial Pizza place.. BUT....

The second dough I cooked right after the Poolish one, same toppings, and all, it browned better, and actually had more flavor (because of the milk powder?) BUT it was tough as shoe leather.  So the obvious thing from my mind is: I need to use K.A. General Purpose or all purpose flour, milk powder and such in my recipe to be content at this point in time.

Here are my unexperienced thoughts and I am open to your reflections regarding, or general observations regarding my attempts so far... And what does an experienced eye pay attention to as guideposts along the way? 

Oh and just this morning I threw together another dough cause I am itching to get on base, It was a white whole wheat variation on the above 288grams of flour recipe, (more water something like 200G) 2G IDI, 8G salt, a double splash of Olive oil, and 1/4 cup of milk powder.. and  it sat out all day, or 6 hours or so.  It was very easy to stretch... not real strong but it was a joy to press out and it came out pretty well. Oh and I used a fine corn meal for pizza peel lube and that was much easier to launch than the flour dusted ones earlier in the week.
While I am pleased with the WWW today  it is not a white flour dough, and that is where I am wanting to understand how to create a bit more depth, and multidimensionality....

OK that is where  I am at in this moment.. What am I overlooking, or clueless about that is foundational in great pizza dough?
And thanks for your time and contributions to my learning and fun in this process.

Jase 
"What information? I am not connecting with what you are wanting me to understand.."




Jase, all this info that you provided, is the info that should help others more knowledgable answer your question.

Mark
"Gettin' better all the time" Beatles

Offline waltertore

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2013, 07:02:33 PM »
jase:  It is great your passion is burning so bright to create a great, individualized style, pizza.  IMO pizza making is an art that takes a lifetime to master.  I would suggest, since you seem so passionate, to find a great pizzeria near you and ask to work there.  If they say no to this go there everyday and buy a pie.  Watch, listen, and taste. Let that imprint on your brain and senses. The internet is great for lots of things but if you really want to make great pizza you have to be immersed in the life.  Interent learning will never get you to the place that hands on, day after day learning will.  I was raised in the NJ/NYC pizza world and have been making pies on and off for about 50 years.  I still am tweaking mine and probably will till the day I die.  When I was starting out no one did refrigerated multiple day fermentations that I knew of.  I learned that later on and now swear by it.  Taste, smell, touch, texture, all can really only be learned in a real life setting if ones goal is to make great pizzas that will truly stand apart from the crowd.  You have to know what a great pie tastes like, feels like, and how it is made, in the flesh.  Pictures can look great but how does it taste?  There are some that can learn without this way of apprentenship but they are far and few between.  For only 2 months you are doing great.  Enjoy the journey.  Todays internet world tends to destroy this and gets people hell bent on mastery in a week.   The WFO craze that is now hitting the pizza world is something I think is great for a life long deck guy like me.  Why?  Because 90%+ of the new WFO places are clueless as to how to make a great WFO pizza.  I mean to encourage you and hope this  helps in some way.  Walter
« Last Edit: December 29, 2013, 07:07:46 PM by waltertore »

Offline jase

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2013, 09:46:49 PM »
Thank You Waltertore, you've got my full attention, and the thought was floating around in the back of my head (to work part time at a pizza place to learn the ropes)...... Thanks for the nudge, your thoughts  may be all that it takes.. and  I do want to add that Yesterday I realized  I'm having a grand time playing with Pizza!!


Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2013, 01:14:04 AM »
Ok it has been a while since I posted my question. And I will try to share what is going on. . . up until this week:

The "emergency" dough that has been the most reliable in a general sense is this:
1.5 Cups water
2 TBSP sugar
2.25 TSP Instant Yeast (isn't it called IDI?)
1.5 TSP salt
2TBSP Olive oil
4 Cups of bread flour

I'm gonna say this has been generally acceptable.. not bad enough to want to quit, but not great and inspiring (then again it is a quick dough so it is not supposed to be too whah-Hoo)

and I seem to be shooting for a medium thickness crust, not quite bread like, but not paper thin ether. (although my favorite part is the outside rim.. and that is where all my judging is going on.)

Earlier this week,  I made a Poolish with 130G flour,  130G Water, 1/8 TSP IDI on the counter over night.. and then the next day

288G King Arthur General Purpose flour
164G water
2G IDI
8G salt
splash of olive oil
(  I had to add more flour to get it kneadable (too wet) but by then I was flying by the seat of my pants)


and at the same time the night before I made the identical recipe (with out the poolish) but with K.A. High protein  flour maybe 1/8-1/4 cup of milk powder  and tossed it in the fridge overnight..

The following  day I was having fun trying to stretch the doughs out by hand, and using a pizza peel I made from a hardwood cutting board I picked up at walmart (the pizza surface is 14.5 X 16) it weighs half a ton, but it will NEVER warp like the thin ones and it met my need for personalized pizza tools.

The end result: the Poolish dough did not brown much on the top crust (at 550) but the bottom was a bit over done (I used flour to dust the peel)
and I think it cooked for about 5.5 minutes. Oh and as an aside, all my pizza's are plain cheese.. once I get that rocking, then I can get fancy. The Poolish dough pizza was a nice texture, but flavorless, or unimpressive in terms of the dough. It was not bad, I am content with it, maybe it is even as good as an average commercial Pizza place.. BUT....

The second dough I cooked right after the Poolish one, same toppings, and all, it browned better, and actually had more flavor (because of the milk powder?) BUT it was tough as shoe leather.  So the obvious thing from my mind is: I need to use K.A. General Purpose or all purpose flour, milk powder and such in my recipe to be content at this point in time.

Here are my unexperienced thoughts and I am open to your reflections regarding, or general observations regarding my attempts so far... And what does an experienced eye pay attention to as guideposts along the way? 

Oh and just this morning I threw together another dough cause I am itching to get on base, It was a white whole wheat variation on the above 288grams of flour recipe, (more water something like 200G) 2G IDI, 8G salt, a double splash of Olive oil, and 1/4 cup of milk powder.. and  it sat out all day, or 6 hours or so.  It was very easy to stretch... not real strong but it was a joy to press out and it came out pretty well. Oh and I used a fine corn meal for pizza peel lube and that was much easier to launch than the flour dusted ones earlier in the week.
While I am pleased with the WWW today  it is not a white flour dough, and that is where I am wanting to understand how to create a bit more depth, and multidimensionality....

OK that is where  I am at in this moment.. What am I overlooking, or clueless about that is foundational in great pizza dough?
And thanks for your time and contributions to my learning and fun in this process.

Jase
Splash of olive oil?  If you really truly want help you need to get a scale and learn bakers %'s. Do that and you can count me in with those that want to help you. It's just that I have no way of visualizing/expressing changes in a volume setting. Percentages makes it so clear to understand where one is at...and where one can be led to.  :chef:
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline waltertore

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2013, 08:17:08 AM »
Thank You Waltertore, you've got my full attention, and the thought was floating around in the back of my head (to work part time at a pizza place to learn the ropes)...... Thanks for the nudge, your thoughts  may be all that it takes.. and  I do want to add that Yesterday I realized  I'm having a grand time playing with Pizza!!

Great!  I bet there is a top shelf pizzeria waiting for you.  It may be local or you may have to travel.  If you follow your heart it will guide you.  I have found that when ones passion is burning and one follows it the teacher appears.  I have lived this way for almost 60 years.  My journey has carried me blindly around the world  and with each new adventure the teacher has appeared and  life gets richer and more meaningful.  Walter
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 08:41:24 AM by waltertore »

Offline jase

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Re: The basics: what needs to evolve from OK/good to "WOW" ??
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2013, 08:30:13 PM »
Splash of olive oil?  If you really truly want help you need to get a scale and learn bakers %'s. Do that and you can count me in with those that want to help you. It's just that I have no way of visualizing/expressing changes in a volume setting. Percentages makes it so clear to understand where one is at...and where one can be led to.  :chef:

OK got it. Will do with out fail from here on forward.. And your commentary brings up a question: based upon what I am understanding that you have said, I  can eventually get to the point of being able to see the bakers %'s and visualize or intuitively feel how one recipe will be different than the next???  (that would be great fun, if it can in fact be done)


Great!  I bet there is a top shelf pizzeria waiting for you.  It may be local or you may have to travel.  If you follow your heart it will guide you.  I have found that when ones passion is burning and one follows it the teacher appears.  I have lived this way for almost 60 years.  My journey has carried me blindly around the world  and with each new adventure the teacher has appeared and  life gets richer and more meaningful.  Walter

More Great Feeling Advice.  The adventure begins (or continues, but not in a way that I was expecting).


 

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